Wednesday, 6 November 2002

Why Blair is an appeaser

by George Monbiot

Fetch Tony Fetch.... Good boy.... Tony Blair's loyalty to George Bush looks like slow political suicide. His preparedness to follow him over every precipice jeopardises Britain's relationships with its allies, conjures up enemies all over the world and infuriates voters of all political colours. And yet he never misses an opportunity to show what a trusting friend he is.

There are several plausible and well-established explanations for this unnatural coupling. But there might also be a new one. Blair may have calculated that sticking to Bush is the only way in which our unsustainable economy can meet its need for energy.

Britain is running out of time. According to the Oil Depletion Analysis Centre the UK's North sea production has been declining since 1999. Nuclear power in Britain is, in effect, finished: on Saturday the EU revealed that it had prohibited the government's latest desperate attempt to keep it afloat with massive subsidies. But, partly because of corporate lobbying, partly because of his unhealthy fear of "Mondeo man" or "Worcester woman", or whatever the floating voter of Middle England has now become, Tony Blair has also flatly rejected both an effective energy reduction policy and a massive investment in alternative power. The only remaining way of meeting future energy demand is to import ever greater quantities of oil and gas.

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